You know, sometimes you can figure out what is going to happen on this show. Book reader or not, the writers set up the good stuff and leave you on the edge of your seat before they spike it to you. But man, oh man do they deliver. My goodness gracious I have never seen a show that delivers as truly and fully as this one. With only a handful of episodes left in the entire story (that’s right) things are naturally getting cray cray. Our characters face seemingly unconquerable odds. So what can they possibly do to overcome? It’s simple- change the rules.
Let’s take a much needed moment to freak out real quick. Ready? Go… the white walkers now have an ICE DRAGON!!! WHAT?! Fire AND ice will literally blow from out of the sky! Man… as if it wasn’t enough to have an army so large it looks like an enormous shadow spilling down a mountain as they run after you. Not to mention giants, undead bears, and a Night King with one heck of throwing arm (the New York Jets are currently in contract negotiations). Plus Jon nearly died! A bunch of nameless guys did die! Thoros is gone! Dany and Jon are ‘shipping (but they’re totally related)! So much is happening so fast. This is stuff is b-a-n-a-n-a-s ya’ll!
Ok, back to it. If you’re wondering how in the world the good guys are going to beat the bad guys, while managing to not get flanked by the bad girl currently sitting on top the throne, don’t worry. We were given the answer this week. In what was largely a reflection on the overall themes of the story, we saw many conversations about going against the grain of the establishment to do what’s right. Things like ancestry and family obligation, honor are necessarily being denied. After thousands of years of fighting for an iron chair based on these things, it’s safe to say this isn’t going to be easy.
I knew what I was doing was against the rules, but he was smiling so I knew it wasn’t wrong. The rules were wrong. – Arya
This gem of a quote was about the only thing I liked about Arya and Sansa’s ridiculous drama. Their conflict seemed lazy, so I’m hoping that was intentional and that there’s more at play behind it from Arya. It seems odd that she would talk about the rules being wrong, then fall right into the rules of Littlefinger’s game. But if her quote is any indication, my hope should be paid off. Similarly, the rules of the game of thrones have been much quoted- you live or you die. But if death always wins, then the rules are already broken. Thank you Beric Dondarrian for reminding us this week that the fight is still worth fighting.
I think Tyrion very subtly embodied this struggle for us this week. We saw his conviction for the new world that Daenerys is trying to build. This is a man redeemed after a long road of being ostracized, cast out by his family, and nearly executed by them. The inner torment he has faced as he tried to measure up is now healing, and a hope for something greater is emerging. He knows the cost of breaking the wheel, uprooting what is established in order to bring about real change. You know, it just might be good to leave out the whole killing your father thing. I was moved by him this week, and saw an eternal longing within him that I think we all share.
Jon: So what are you fighting for?
Beric: Life. Death is the enemy.
I’m sure you see the real-life implications of this, especially in our current cultural climate. In last week’s review I talked a lot about what we are called to do against injustice. It’s not easy to act or to know how, but any act towards justice is valuable. Our example in Christ is clearly to break the wheel, change the rules when they are wrong. Fight for life. A lot of times that looks as bonkers of an idea as a dragon breathing ice from the sky. Religious rules may seem right on the surface, but if they ostracize and don’t lead anyone to life, break them. That’s what Christ did by fulfilling the law and conquering death. Death is the enemy. But where is the sting? Christ defeated death, so the rules have been changed.
Tyrion spoke of taking his enemy’s side in order to get to know them so you can beat them. That’s a subtle hint at Jon. If Jon is fighting death, and he’s already experienced death and overcome it, he knows how to defeat it. Even if he doesn’t fully realize it yet. As we spend many of our days focused on our calling as Christians, I think we sometimes miss that by following Christ, our calling is fulfilled. The rest is freedom to live. Our enemy is conquered already, so what follows is for us to live free. Similarly, the only way to win the game of thrones once and for all, is to eliminate the game altogether. If next week’s preview is any indication, it looks like they’re taking a step towards that goal.